Weeknights are hectic, whether you are a Mom (or Dad) who works outside of the home, or a WAHM (work at home Mom) or a SAHM (stay at home Mom). Before you know it, it's the dinner hour and everybody's hungry and you need a plan of attack so that your family doesn't lose it. Here are a few tried and true tips:
1. Sit down on the weekend and create a menu plan. Decide on your meals for the next seven days and then write them in a visible area (wall calendar, chalk board, anywhere that you can see it). Knowing what's on the menukeeps you from finding yourself driving home from work and wondering what you might be having for dinner.
2. Do a big grocery shop based on your meal plan. Create a large list for weekend shopping and a mid-week list to stock up on things like milk, fruit and vegatables.
3.Prep as much as you can on the weekend. Items such as broccoli and cauliflower can be cut and washed and are then ready to throw into your dinner or munch on as a snack.
4. Have a "big batch cooking party." Get together with a group of friends on a Saturday, prepare a boatload of casseroles, and have a nice stash of healthy meals to pull out of the freezer and throw into the oven and onto the table.
5. Take a few minutes to regroup. Your family has been farflung throughout the day and then come colliding together. Get dinner started and then sit down and talk about your day or read a book together.
6. Get your kids to help as much as they can. Your four-year-old may not be able to work a wok, but she can surely fill water glasses and set the table.
7. Make clean-up time into a party. Turn the music up (WAY up) and have a dance party in your kitchen. Ten minutes of booty shaking and laughter can go a long way towards relieving stress and breaking up the cooking/cleaning monotony.